Over the last decade, freelancing opportunities have seen a tremendous increase. Companies now have more choice in deciding the terms of employment – full-time, remote, or contractual employees. However, the decision to take on a full-time employee or hire a freelancer rests on the comprehension of the pros and cons of freelancing.
Many companies are learning the ways of managing a globally distributed and agile workforce and this knowledge helps in hiring freelancers.
There are many benefits associated with the concept of freelancing which is making it a popular career choice today. HR managers across the globe are constantly bringing changes in the way they hire. Similarly, professionals too worldwide are evaluating the pros and cons of freelancing before making any decisions.
Before deep-diving into the extensive advantages and disadvantages of freelance work, let us keep a few points in mind.
- A company does not give any benefits to freelancers. They are only applicable to full-time workers.
- Benefits of working as a freelancer to a large extent depend on the type of industry one is working in.
- The remuneration of full-time employees compared to freelancers varies across the world. It is important to have a clear understanding of what is beneficial in the longer run.
Let’s detail out the pros and cons of freelancing.
Pros of Freelancing
The speed at which technology is evolving is bringing about change in everything we do. Even before the pandemic struck, the gig economy had started picking up. Upwork’s Freelancing in America survey indicated that 5.67 million Americans freelance in 2018. For some people freelancing is a side hustle and for others a new way of working. Freelancing is offering many advantages and greater autonomy is one of the many.
Here are the other benefits of being a freelancer:
A freelancer is not required to sit in the cubicle for a stipulated period of time. They work at their own pace. More often than not they get to decide the deadlines for their work. If someone enjoys working at their own pace, then freelancing is the best bet as they pick up work based on what they aspire to do rather than what is given to them.
This particular pro of freelancing is beneficial to the organization as well as you are assured of focus in the assigned task.
Flexi Work Timings
When one has fixed working hours, it becomes difficult to carry out day-to-day activities. Freelancing gives the flexibility to customize the work schedule and integrate the two well. Working as a freelancer allows one to work at times of the day when one is most productive. It also allows freedom to run errands and chores if need be. One of the most accurate advantages of freelancing is distributing work according to one’s calendar, time, and work hours.
Working in a pressured environment causes burnout in the longer run. This disrupts the work-life balance. The benefit of becoming a freelancer allows this balance to be retained.
Freelancers can work around their social calendar, getting the best of both worlds. They can also manage to spend quality time at home and help around the house too. This truly can be stated as a very accurate advantage of freelancing.
Working is ultimately about delivering. Many times working in the office with colleagues could lead to unwanted breaks. A noisy workplace can lead to decreased productivity and be a source of irritation. Companies understand today that it is important the work is delivered on time, even if it means that the freelancers are doing it. While working from home the distractions can be controlled which can lead to more output.
Work from the mountains or the beaches
The best advantage of freelancing is that one can work from anywhere in the world provided they have a stable internet connection. City life can be demanding and also mentally exhausting. Freelancing offers the benefits of working from any location that brings a sense of calm and increases efficiency. Working from a library, a café, or a co-working space brings autonomy considering the place of work and is considered as one of the biggest pros of freelancing.
Companies have beautiful workspaces but the employees can’t personalize them beyond a certain limit. Working from home or one’s own space gives them the liberty to design and customize their workspace. Some people like to listen to music while working, some like to face the window, and some function well when there is a TV running in the background. It is needless to say that one of the other benefits of becoming a freelancer is having a workspace that is their own.
Save Time and Money
Time is money. When a freelancer is working from the comfort of their own space, they save on travel time and also the money spent on travel. During this time, they can take up additional projects or focus on their family or hobbies. Hobbies take a backseat when adult life kicks in. Freelancing gives you this freedom. Points like these make freelancing more lucrative than being tied to a 9-5 job.
Because a freelancer works from home, they indirectly in a positive way contribute to the environment by not using fuel. Working is ultimately about delivering. If by working from a space of choice one can deliver, the job is ultimately done. In fact FlexiJob’s conducted their 7th annual survey in 2018 with 3000 participants. This survey indicated that 65% of workers thought they would be more productive at home.
We cannot state a more accurate advantage of freelancing, considering the state of global warming.
No more – “What to wear to work today”
A dress code has to be maintained while one is a full-time employee. However, It does not matter what a freelancer wears, what only matters is the work they deliver. While considering the pros and cons of freelancing, this point can be a huge pro for many people, especially the creative ones.
Ability to take on diverse projects
As a full-time employee, a person is restricted by conflict-of-interest situations. Here the benefit of working as a freelancer is that they have the option to choose from a diverse set of projects to work on depending on their skill set. This widens their horizons and also allows them to learn and evolve.
Subject matter expert
Working on diverse projects gives a freelancer a chance to discover their forte. Freelancers have the freedom to choose the type of work they take up. Eventually, they become masters of a certain niche. Practice makes perfect and, in this case, a Subject Matter Expert. A Subject Matter Expert can eventually start charging more money for the work they do in their domain.
Chance to make more money
Freelancing also allows the freedom in taking up more assignments. As one saves time on commuting and costs like travel, dining, or even workwear. This gives freelancers the opportunity to take up more work and make more money.
Many times, we find ourselves at crossroads. One would want to work in a firm situated in a big city and at the same time experience the quiet of the countryside. Freelancing gives this dual benefit to enjoy both. It leaves time for pursuing hobbies and allows for living a life of less regret.
Cons of Freelancing
As lucrative as the advantages of a freelancing career sound, freelancing has its cons too. Being one’s own boss comes at a price. Everyone is wired differently and hence for some freelancing as a career choice can be daunting. The pros and cons of freelancing, if looked at closely can throw light on the right path suited for an individual.
Let’s get to understand the list of possible freelance cons.
Absence of self-discipline
Being surrounded by screens on every possible side makes it very easy to get distracted. Streaming platforms, social media apps, and the never ending household chores don’t make it easy to concentrate. To be able to complete the work on time, one needs to be focused.
There are things that can be done to reduce the lack of focus. In fact, the same phone that distracts can be an asset too. Features like blocking certain apps or locking the phones for a stipulated number of hours or just monitoring screen time can be very beneficial.
Having a fixed schedule also helps. Simple things like a fixed sleep schedule, fixed mealtimes, time aside for a workout, and so on. This helps in retaining the essence of freelancing in the longer run.
While considering the pros and cons of freelancing, an individual should not overlook their habits. To be able to enjoy the advantages of freelancing, one needs to be orderly.
Donning multiple hats
If one is freelancing and is enjoying being their boss, they have to multitask in many aspects. For instance, being their own HR manager, finance Manager and handling administrative duties. A freelancer has to take care of issuing invoices, filling for taxes & insurance and other formalities. Having a sound health and life insurance plan is also compulsory in certain countries. That burden then falls on the individual to pay the insurance premium in a timely manner. Many companies also include the family of their employees in the insurance plans. Here the freelance con is to bear the cost of the insurance for self and the family.
A full-time employee does not have to worry about being paid at the end of the month. But a freelancer has to keep a tab of the payments to be collected. What can help in this situation is to make a payment schedule and decide the levels at which the payment will be received.
Also, keep in mind that a freelancer will have no paid holidays. So, the finances have to be managed in a way that one can lead a comfortable life. This is certainly is one of the freelance cons.
Sitting in London, working for Tokyo?
If a freelancer is working in a time zone different than the company they are working for, then they have to plan their schedule according to the company’s time zone. This mainly comes in the way when one has to attend meetings. This freelance con is very typical for individuals working as virtual assistants or a sales representative. Adjusting to a different time zone can prove to be challenging.
A lonely affair
Many people prefer working in teams or around people. Some miss the office banter. Working in solidarity can cause burnout in the longer run. There is a feeling of suffocation around working alone sometimes. Humans are ultimately social animals, and they need people to interact with. After prolonged WFH, people sometimes wish to isolate themselves from the noise at home. Additionally, by the end of the day, their presence is not felt at home as they don’t want to converse with anyone around. This will negate the benefits of becoming a freelancer.
If one is not able to balance the situation, then this can lead to freelancing issues.
Unclear work and personal space boundaries
For people who are distracted easily and find it hard to stay self-motivated, freelancing can be a never-ending pit. Procrastination is the biggest enemy here. Getting irritable near deadlines becomes a common thing. In such cases, the quality of work also may get hampered. Poor quality work also means that there can be a dearth of work in the future.
Therefore, understanding both the pros and cons of freelancing is important to take an informed decision.
Access to better hardware and software in the workplace
The freelancer has to bear the cost of their equipment, laptops, and even the internet. While full-time employees have access to a better-equipped workspace with state-of-the-art tools and technologies. Additionally, companies have dedicated technical teams to look at breakdowns and service disruptions. In the case of a freelancer, he/she is responsible for the wear and tear of the machines and the upkeep as well. This also means additional monies have to be kept aside in situations of repairs, breakdowns, and maintenance.
Lack of collaboration
Working often, entails brainstorming and therefore a need to have multiple meetings. This is not always as efficient in virtual meetings. In the workspaces, a lot of discussions and ideas get generated over water cooler conversations and networking with various teams. This kind of collaboration is not possible when one is working independently.
The risks of freelancing in some cases can overshadow associated creative ideations and collaborative work practices.
Poor negotiation skills
If a person isn’t able to ask for the remuneration they deserve then freelancing can get tough to manage. To be able to sustain independently requires payment tariffs that are fair. With rising competition, a freelancer can end up working for less than what they deserve. In the long run, this will also lead to job dissatisfaction.
This freelance con cannot be disregarded in the larger gamut of evaluating the pros and cons of freelancing.
There is no guarantee of a constant workflow or project pipeline with freelancing. Work could be pouring in sometimes, and sometimes there could be a lull. A freelancer has to be prepared for such events and have a backup at all times.
This is a major freelancing con if one is just starting out.
Internet connectivity and cyber security
Certain freelancing work requires a high-speed internet connection. A local service provider may or may not be able to provide the same. An unstable internet connection also comes in the way of attending meetings. This could confuse and affect the quality of work being delivered by the freelancer.
Also, the question of data protection is a big one. Organizations have tight data security. Even if one is very careful, they cannot build walls as higher as professionally run companies can.
Pros and Cons of Freelancing- Can Freelancing Be a Career Choice?
Knowing more about the advantages and disadvantages of being a freelancer will clarify what is good for an individual or the company in the longer run. It is evident that if you wish be a successful freelancer, self-discipline are indispensable followed by a guarantee to finish the work on time and be a smart negotiator. In the same manner, a company assesses what suits their setup best in terms of the nature of work and whether it makes sense to hire a full-time employee or a freelancer. With this inventory of freelance work pros and cons making a decision becomes effortless.
Once you are certain about hiring a freelancer, Multiplier can help you in a seamless onboarding process. And what’s more, we help companies in generating contracts, invoicing, and manage, freelancer taxes as well. Furthermore if, you wish to hire talent across geographical boundaries, Multiplier can ease the hiring process and complications that occur in cross-border talent. Multiplier’s international human resource software also aids freelancers to grab the best prospects thus making freelance an advantageous career path.
In case as an individual, you decide to walk the freelancer’s path as an individual then Multiplier’s guide to freelancing will throw light on how to reap the benefits of being a freelancer. If, as a company, you have decided to hire freelancers, then Multiplier will be your best onboarding partner. A few clicks is all it takes to set up an international team.